COVID vaccine doses are valuable. Here’s how much California has wasted

California health workers have thrown out nearly 645,000 doses of life-saving COVID-19 vaccines since they became available in December, an average of 58,614 a month, The Chronicle has learned.

Nevertheless, the disappointing figure represents only 1% of the total 58 million available doses made available in the state between Dec. 15 and Oct. 22, according to the California Department of Public Health.

“Vaccine spillage is a normal and expected part of any vaccine campaign,” California’s public health department told The Chronicle, adding that its regular training for providers – usually in hospitals, clinics and pharmacies – has led to “excellent vaccine management” across the state, and less waste compared to the nation as a whole.

U.S. states have wasted an average of 4.8% of their available doses, noted the California agency, which received this figure from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC did not respond to a request for comment. But last month, NBC News quoted the federal agency as reporting that vaccine providers threw away more than 15 million doses between March and August.

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